Hands speaks out against Sewer threat to Fulham

Local residents urged to sign petition against new “Super Sewer” plans

Thousands of new homes and jobs are under threat after Thames Water revealed they are considering surprise new plans for a major super-sewer construction compound in South Fulham.

At least three prime riverside regeneration sites in the south of the borough have all been targeted as water-utility bosses look for a ‘plan b’ for their super-sewer entry site following protests about their original choice in Barnes.

Thames Water is planning to build a massive £3.6 billion storage tank under the River Thames and needs a compound the size of six football pitches to get drilling equipment into the ground and to excavate spoil from the tunnel.

The proposed 20-mile long tunnel, which would be bigger than the Channel Tunnel, is designed to increase the capacity of London's Victorian sewage system and reduce the amount of sewage spilling into the river after heavy rainfall.

Thames Water officials had originally earmarked sports pitches at Barn Elms, on the Richmond side of the Thames, opposite Fulham Football Ground, as the main compound in West London but have revealed they are now considering a u-turn due to protests in Barnes.

H&F Council says that Thames Water is considering using Hurlingham and Whiffin Wharves as well as the Carnwath Road Business Park. Thames Water also admitted that they had considered using Imperial Wharf Park, which opened in October 2009, but have since ruled it out. The council has written to Thames Water to protest about the plans as:

  • · Many hundreds of much-needed new homes would be lost or delayed
  • · Hundreds of potential new jobs would be squandered
  • · Local businesses would be damaged and existing jobs lost
  • · Plans to open up inaccessible stretches of the Riverside walk, which proved hugely popular with residents in the recent consultation, would not happen for around a decade

The eight years of construction work is also predicted to cause gridlock on the congested local roads on top of the inevitable noise nuisance caused by heavy drilling equipment.

Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, H&F Council Leader, said: “Millions of pounds worth of inward investment would be lost if Thames Water pushes ahead with this plan and the disruption and noise nuisance will be a major blight to the area for at least eight years. We will fight Thames Water all the way on this as the massive entry compound can only be justified in an area of open land well away from built up areas.”

Thames Water is expected to launch the second phase of their consultation later this year and wants to start building the tunnel in 2012. The project will be one of the biggest engineering projects ever attempted in the capital and the earliest expected finish date is 2020.

Greg Hands MP said: “I am totally opposed to the use of this prime riverside site for such a disruptive project. Local residents will be appalled that Thames Water could ruin their lives for many years with such a massive construction scheme, right in the middle of a residential area.

“The site is poised to provide much-needed regeneration but, instead, Thames Water wants to throw all that away. Carnwath Road and the wider area is simply not the right place for tunneling. I will be lobbying Thames Water hard to change their minds and urge everyone to sign the Council’s petition. If we make our voices heard, we can make them think twice.”

Residents can join more than 2,200 people opposed to Thames Water’s scheme by signing the petition here.